Off-duty Phila. officer critical after motorcycle crash

Saturday, June 09, 2012

An off-duty Philadelphia Police officer is in very critical condition after a motorcycle accident in North Philadelphia.

Milan Merke - an officer in the 35th Police District, continues to battle for his life in extremely critical condition. His family gathered at the hospital Friday night along with fellow officers.

The accident happened around 7:45pm Friday night at Broad and Master streets in North Philadelphia.

The officer's Honda motorcycle remained at the scene late into the night as investigators tried to piece together what happened.

Initial reports indicate that Merke was taking part in a motorcycle ride for peace with about 100 other members of the Midnight Run for Peace and Men United for a Better Philadelphia. The group's aim is trying to stop the violence and drugs in the city.

"The off-duty officer was on his motorcycle going southbound on Broad Street at Master. A car made a left hand turn westbound on Master and the officer on his motorcycle struck that vehicle. Right now, this officer is in extremely critical condition," said Lt. Ray Evers.

Merke was rushed to Hahnemann Hosptial in critical condition.

Many of his fellow motorcycle club members kept vigil outside of the hospital comforting one another and praying.

"We had a prayer vigil for him, and hopefully the prayers will reach upstairs, and the Father upstairs will make sure that he is alright," said Richard Dukes, from Men United for a Better Philadelphia.

Merke has been a member of the group since it was founded eight years ago. Over the years, they have organized rides involving hundreds of motorcycle riders through the most dangerous neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

"That's what this group does," said Commissioner Ramsey. "They go into some of the most crime infested areas and show their presence and try to get people to turn their lives around. They really have done a lot of good. And we are all praying for him."

Meanwhile, the accident remains under investigation.

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philadelphia, accident, motorcycles, north philadelphia, local/state, dann cuellar
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